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Thought Experiment – Transcript of Islamic State National Security Council Meeting 6/17/16

(Self-appointed) Caliph: I have called you, the members of the IS National Security Council, together today in my bunker to discuss future strategy in light of the Orlando shooting in the US, the growth of right wing nationalist movements in Europe and the US, and our current situation on the ground in Iraq and Syria. Remember, our objectives are first to retain our state and second to expand it. Let’s start with the views of our military chief of staff. How are we doing?

Chief of Staff: Not well, sir. In the past year, we have lost at least a third of the territory we captured since we proclaimed our state. The Americans are part of the story. Drone strikes, Special Forces kill or capture raids, training and logistical support to the Kurds, the Syrian opposition, and the Iraqi government have enabled them to encircle our forces in many cities and take those cities back one by one.  These include Ramadi, Kobane, Diyala, and Sinajr. We are encircled in Falujah and expect defeat after serious house-to-house fighting.

Caliph: That is discouraging. Let’s hear from the head of logistics. How are we doing?

Head of Logistics: Again, not well, sir. Yes, we profited enormously by capturing American made weapons from the Iraqi army, but the ammunition cannot last forever and we need spare parts (which we would have to get from the Americans, who are disinclined to supply us). Perhaps worse, our finances are a wreck. We survived through extortion, but that means we are bankrupting the people we claim to be defending, and they hate us so much that they have fled by the millions, thus limiting what we can extract from them. We still smuggle oil, and Turkey has been a big consumer, but this does not meet our daily needs. Selling antiquities helps, but we have flooded the market and prices are down. There is still a market for sex slaves, but the slaves are now so brutalized by our men that prices are going down for them too. Fortunately, we still get some funding from sympathizers in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, but again, it is not enough. Our troops, many of whom seem more interested in murder, rape, and loot than Islam as we understand it, have started to complain that they have not been paid. Some are deserting. A few have given intelligence for gold to our enemies. That intelligence helps the US pin-point our leaders and kill them with drone strikes.

Caliph: Maybe our foreign minister has some good news.

Foreign Minister: Sorry, sir, not much encouraging to say. We have no states as allies. Diplomatically, we are isolated.

Caliph: So the sky is falling? Where is our chief of intelligence? What’s the news?

Intelligence Chief: More encouraging than the rest thinks, sir.

Caliph: Why?

Intelligence Chief: As you know, sir, our strategy has always depended on selling our struggle as one between Islam and the West, not to mention against the apostate Shia. Throughout Europe, there has been a backlash against refugees from Syria. The strength of the nationalist parties is increasing. In Austria, the leader of a neo-Nazi party, oddly called the Freedom Party, almost won the election. Our recent coordinated attacks in France and Belgium have raised fear and increased hatred substantially. Even in Germany, where Chancellor Merkel has sought to redeem her country from its genocidal past with generous asylum policies for refugees, the parties of the nationalist right are gaining ground.

Caliph: So how does that help us?

Intelligence Chief: Remember, sir, terrorism is political theater. We cannot defeat our adversaries among the Kurds, Syrians, and Iraqis by conventional means, so long as they are supported by the US. But we can exploit the situation to put on a media drama for all Muslims. The more the Europeans shut their borders to refugees, the more heartless they seem. The more vigilantes use violence against Muslims in European countries, the more we can say the infidels are uniting against all Muslims. If parties of the nationalist right come to power, they may discriminate against Muslims, thus fueling ever more hatred against the West.

Caliph: So how does the US figure into all this?

Intelligence Chief: Sir, agents cost a lot of money, but our mole in the Russian FSU has given us the US Democratic Party’s opposition research on the Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump. All the data suggest he is our last best hope.

Caliph: Why?

Foreign Minister: The current administration is loath to insert US combat troops against us for fear of playing into our narrative of Islam versus the West. Whenever the Crusaders are fighting in Muslim lands, this has been a substantial boon in recruiting foreign fighters to our cause. Using local Muslim forces against us undermines our narrative. It makes this a multi-faceted civil war among Muslims over the political meaning of Islam in the modern age — not the story we wish to tell since we are a tiny fraction of all Muslims.

Intelligence Chief: Right. Said Sun Tzu, the great Chinese strategist, “the best strategy is to attack your enemy’s strategy.” The current administration is attacking our strategy. Not only has it relied on local proxies to fight us, but also it has deliberately refused to say this is a conflict with radical Islam. That precedent was set during the George W. Administration.

Caliph: I don’t get it. Why don’t they call a spade a spade?

Intelligence Chief: Sir, by our estimates, only a fraction of Muslims is actually willing to fight and die for our cause. Pew Research data shows that we have the support of less than 10% in almost all Muslim countries. So 90% of Muslims are not on our side and many are virulently opposed to us. This includes virtually all governments in Muslim nations, since expanding our caliphate is a threat to the existing regimes. If we wish to expand our base of support, we need to unite all Muslims under our control. The administration consistently refuses to help us. It suspects that, by calling this a war against radical Islam, other Muslims will see this as a war against Islam as such and unite with us, thus transforming this into a quarrel with 1.5 billion Muslims on our side. That, sir, is our best hope.

Caliph: So how can Donald Trump help us?

Intelligence Chief: Sir, he has called for a supposedly temporary ban on immigration to the US by all Muslims. To many in the US, who lump all Muslims in the same category as terrorists, this seems both tough and prudent, but to the rest of the Muslim world it looks like he sees the US as at war with all of Islam. He is playing into our strategy.

Caliph: What else have you learned about this man?

Foreign Minister: He is dividing the US from its allies, including its Muslim allies. They did not like it when he suggested a database to track Muslims and identification badges, like the yellow Star of David in Nazi Germany. It makes them fear persecution and worse. This makes them uncertain and unwilling to take risks in support of the US. The current administration’s strategy of rolling us back in Iraq and Syria depends on coordinating the efforts of multiple partners who do not get along with each other well. The more Trump divides the US from its allies, the better for us.

Intelligence Chief: Sir, Trump is a gift for us. He has called for reinstituting torture, waterboarding, and worse. He has also called for attacking the families of those suspected of terrorism. If done intentionally, such attacks would be war crimes we could use to mobilize Muslims against the West and divide the US even more from its Western allies. Remember they briefing I gave you on classic terrorist strategies? Rule number one: delegitimize you enemy by provoking him to overreact. If he carried out these policies, he would be the best recruiter for our cause we could possibly imagine.

Caliph: So is there anything we can do to help Trump get elected?

Chief of Staff: Sadly, sir, we have failed abjectly in conducting large-scale terrorist operations inside the US. Improved homeland security measures, intelligence cooperation especially, has made it extraordinarily difficult to insert agents in the US the way Al Qaeda did on 9/11. We have virtually no controllable assets in the US.

Intelligence Chief: For the record, sir, we do not have to insert agents to carry out a strategy to get Donald Trump elected president. I brought the Minister of Propaganda with me to today’s meeting to explain why.

Minister of Propaganda: As you know, sir, we have been very effective in what is called narrow-casting over the Internet. This is different from old-fashioned broadcasting. Our message is tailored to appeal to the 1% willing to fight and die for our cause. For the most part, we have asked them to come join us in our state to fight against the infidels, but we also ask them to rise up and attack “targets of opportunity” in Europe and the US. The shooter in Orlando, what’s his name, let me look at my records, a guy named Mateen, appears to have gotten our message.

Caliph: Who was this guy?

Chief of Staff: So far as I can tell, he was not one of our operatives. He was born in New York City to a family of Afghan ancestry. The family appears to have assimilated, but he has had a troubled life and appears to be confused about the different strands of Islam. The FBI investigated some wild statements he made from time to time, but with no evidence that he intended to commit a crime, it dropped its investigation.  His attack on the gay night club appears to have resulted at least as much from animus against gays as support for us.

Minister of Intelligence: Western intelligence is terrified of what they call “lone wolf” actors. We do not control them, but we can incite them. Whatever his complicated mix of motives in the Orlando shooting, he pledged allegiance to us before he died, so we can take credit for his actions.

Caliph: I don’t get it. How does this help us?

Minister of Propaganda: Within hours of Mateen’s attack, Donald Trump claimed the attack proved he was right. The US is at war with radical Islam, which, again, many whose support we need might interpret to mean at war with Islam as such. Within a day, he renewed his call to prohibit Muslim immigration. He treated Muslim immigration as a Trojan horse that could destroy the United States. Golly, sir, I wish I had written his speech. It was perfect for us.

Caliph: Well, is there anything we can do to help Trump spread our message?

Intelligence Chief: Again, sir, we cannot control the lone wolves. Many might say they are devoted to us, but their actual motives are frequently mixed.

Minister of Propaganda: Thank God for the Internet! We need to step up our appeals to the lone wolves in both Europe and the US. If they were an Orlando-size attack in the US once per month until November, fear, anger, and hysteria might tip enough votes to Trump to get him elected.

Caliph: Sounds like what Americans call a Hail Mary pass to me. Do you think this will work?

Intelligence Chief: Sir, it is our best shot.

Caliph: What about the other candidate, the woman?

Foreign Minister: She was secretary of state for four years. She speaks more hawkishly than the current president at times, but we expect her to continue the same overall policies and strategies of the so-called Obama Doctrine.

Caliph: Why?

Foreign Minister: The world has changed significantly since 2003 when the Crusaders invaded Iraq. The US Navy is deeply concerned about the rise of China and has long pushed the president to “pivot” toward the Pacific. The Russian bear is seeking a comeback and alarming US allies in NATO. US resources are limited. US forces cannot be strong everywhere, so they must accept risk in some regions to be strong in others. The US economy has only recently recovered from the Great Recession. Popular support for intervention in the Middle East is shaky at best. Her rival in the Democratic Party nominating process has and will do his best to compel her to focus on domestic priorities. And she is an advocate of “smart power.” She no more than the current president wants to get bogged down in another Middle East quagmire. She too prefers to use proxies to fight us. And she understands that since this is largely a struggle within Islam, those best suited to defeat us are other Muslims.

Caliph: Could we provoke her to overreact too?

Intelligence Chief: This would not be impossible, but she is less likely to do so.

Caliph: Why?

Foreign Minister: She voted for the Iraq War in 2003 and shares responsibility for it. She also supported intervention in Libya, which has become a failed state where we have expanded our caliphate. Her party can barely forgive her these mistakes, and others. Sometimes, however, public opinion pushes political leaders in directions they would rather not go, so she could be more of a follower than a leader in some circumstances. But Trump claims to be a strong man. We think that to appear strong, Trump is far more likely to overreact. His self-image as a strong man is his Achilles heel.

Caliph: Okay, it looks like she would be a far more formidable adversary than her opponent. Let’s initiate OPERATION TRUMP. Do all you can to get this guy elected.

Intelligence Chief: Remember, sir, our strategy is to provoke overreactions. Our enemy has a vote. It might not cooperate with us.

Caliph: What do you mean?

Intelligence Chief: What the Americans call the establishment understands our strategy. If they double down on homeland security efforts, including disrupting our information operations on the Internet, and convince the Americans to stay cool and not succumb to bigotry, even our Hail Mary strategy is likely to fail.

**The views in this dialogue are fictional, though rooted in facts. They do not reflect the opinions of the US Naval War College, the Department of the Navy, or the United States government.

Reader Discussion

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on June 17, 2016 at 10:01:45 am

Ah, another piece from an Obama shill.

Pure fantasy - was it, perhaps, prepared by the DNC?

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gabe
on June 17, 2016 at 10:25:42 am

A professor at the United States Naval War College Monterey Program offers a nuanced analysis of the political dynamics of ISIS. And people how have nothing substantive to say opt to dismiss his views by speculating that the views were generated by "the other team" and thus cannot possibly have any merit.

Is this really what this blog has come to?

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nobody.really
on June 17, 2016 at 11:24:02 am

No and I do not find his views all that *nuanced* - a term favored by the Proggies that serves to find a higher level of reasoning in an otherwise simple regurgitation of the *common* understandings of the day.

Yet, I was perhaps a bit unfair to the good Professor.

I should have asked whether or not this "transcript" was made of the discussions before or after the Western Media and the State Departments Under Secretary for the Office of lslamic Outreach (OIO) left the conference room.
I am not certain if the transcript represents the former or the latter as I came across what appears to be a snippet of a conversation from this same conference.

Caliph: Well, my friends how did it go? do you think, allah be praised, that we convinced them?

Intel Chief: Allah is looking down kindly on us, Oh Revered Caliph! They bought it, especially the Undersecretary. Have you ever wondered why these Americans create such an *Office*?

Don't they know that WE WILL *REACH OUT* to them, Allah willing!

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gabe
on June 17, 2016 at 12:00:59 pm

oops. I forgot: "nuanced" is just another way of airbrushing out both the obvious and history while simultaneously denigrating those who refuse to DENY the obvious.
I suppose Thomas Jefferson's response to the Barbary Pirates was not *nuanced* but then again he did not have to worry about appearing "un-nuanced" on internet blogs!

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gabe
on June 17, 2016 at 13:21:41 pm

I suppose Thomas Jefferson’s response to the Barbary Pirates was not *nuanced* but then again he did not have to worry about appearing “un-nuanced” on internet blogs!

Ah yes, if only the US enjoyed the bold leadership of a Jefferson today.

Jefferson's military response to the Barbary Pirates was so effective that he eventually sued for peace under the June 4, 1805 Treaty of Peace and Amity, by which the US paid ransom of $60,000 for the release of prisoners from the USS Philadelphia and several U.S. merchant ships. The pirates were so intimidated by Jefferson's boldness that they refrained from taking any more US ships for nearly two years.

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nobody.really
on June 17, 2016 at 15:18:14 pm

"You either rely on your findings to sustain your rule, or you don’t and you lose for want of reasoned decision-making."

Apparently we do if you consider providing the Iranian Mullahs with $150 billion which they proudly and loudly proclaim is being used for their military buildup.
Heck, at least Jefferson got them to stop seizing ships for two years - the mullahs are still working on their insane expansionist version of Islam.

BTW: The Barbary thingy was rhetorical. Tommy boy WAS a vacillating C-in-C who did not possess the overwhelming military might possessed by our current "nuancing" Commander-in-Chief.

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gabe
on June 17, 2016 at 15:19:54 pm

What the heck was that?

Wrong quote was pasted in to above comment. Should have read:

The pirates were so intimidated by Jefferson’s boldness that they refrained from taking any more US ships for nearly two years.

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gabe
on June 17, 2016 at 15:24:57 pm

Well, I guess I was wrong. It looks like Walling has won the day as evidenced by this (surely effective) strategy currently being advanced by Homeland Security wherein we will not "boost" recruitment for ISIS if only we don't use terms such as sharia.

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/homeland-security-report-calls-rejecting-terms-jihad-sharia/

Oh Happy Day, OOOHHHH Happy Day!!!!!!! another example of a nuanced policy prescription!!!!

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gabe
on June 17, 2016 at 19:24:23 pm

"Pure fantasy – was it, perhaps, prepared by the DNC?"

It is a consequence of the popular media. Like I said once or twice before, if you dig into the origins of the horrible and evil things a politician said, and take the time to read the text of what was actually said in context, 99% of the time you find that the stormy verbiage is really just another tempest in a teacup. That's how the US popular media has always worked.

It's unfortunate that so many otherwise intelligent and well-read folks like the bloggers here so easily forget that. When you get the same message over and over and over you start to believe it without questioning, especially when you see your peers entranced by the media's Jedi mind tricks. Repetition creates belief. Lies made big and told often are easiest to believe, even by literate historians.

That's what this cutesie thought experiment demonstrates. No more. No less.

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Scott Amorian
on June 17, 2016 at 21:09:54 pm

Ah, Scott! It seems you missed the *nuance* - shame on you!

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gabe
on June 18, 2016 at 09:34:06 am

In praise of bold leadership:

The Nazis blitz had proven to be an effective strategy in seizing much of Europe, right up to the edge of France. But it relied on tanks and troops, and the Nazis encountered a formidable tank trap called the English Channel. How could they get their tanks and troops across?

Ships, obviously. But those ships would be bombed by the Royal Air Force. So first, the Nazis would need to take out the RAF. Which they began to do in 1940, strategically and systematically bombing radar towers and air fields, in what became known as the Battle of Britain. This strategy solely taxed Britain’s limited supply of planes and pilots. Britain was reduced to putting pilots into combat with only nine hours of flight experience, and no gunnery experience.

But on August 25, 1940, the British opted to gamble with their limited resources and launch a counter-offensive. They sent 95 planes to bomb Berlin. Within the context of the war effort, the practical effects of the bombings were negligible.

Fortunately for the Allies, the Nazis were led by a bold man of action. Seeing this attack on his home turf, he immediately abandoned any systematic strategy for taking Britain and instead ordered his planes to begin bombing the civilian population of London. This was terrifying—but as a strategic matter, London could absorb bombing rates like a rhino's flank could absorb bullets from a 22. This let the RAF regroup and maintain its primary function: keeping the Nazi ships from crossing the English Channel. And thus the battle was won—thanks to the bold leadership of the other side.

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nobody.really
on June 18, 2016 at 09:36:51 am

The Muslim FLN (National Liberation Front) fought to overthrow the French government of Algeria in the late 1950s. Mostly this consisted of kidnapping, torture, and murder of anyone even tangentially related to maintaining the government, including attacks on women, children, and civilians.

The fact that the FLN used such brutal tactics against their fellow Algerian Muslims suggests that they didn’t commanded the support of the population at large. And indeed, 170,000 Muslim Algerians were volunteers in the French army, and the French were able to recruit another 180,000 volunteers to serve as harkis to respond to the FLN guerilla tactics.
But the FLN had two other advantages: the French, and the French.

France enjoyed bold leadership, and struck back with a prolonged campaign of brutality and torture of its own. This greatly enhanced Algerian support for the FLN. Confronted with this fact, and after years of warfare, France began negotiations to recognize Algerian sovereignty.

Thereafter a break-away faction of the French military, opposed to Algerian independence, initiated its own insurgency. It set off an average of 120 bombs a day in hospitals, schools, etc., throughout the first three months of 1962. This far exceeded anything seen in the war to that point. And the FLN, now apparently cursed with weak, ineffective leadership, managed to refrain from doing anything bold in response.

As a result, the Algerians voted 5,992,115 for independence, 16,534 against, and roughly 500,000 abstained. Another guerrilla movement succeeding thanks to the bold leadership of the opposition.

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nobody.really
on June 18, 2016 at 10:45:24 am

Ahhh, nobody!

You forgot the bold leadership of Dwight David Eisenhower and the Normandy invasions.

Son of a gun, can ya believe it, bold leadership actually worked.

Again, rather disingenuous of you to select a specific engagement of a major conflict and present it as the proof of your (and Walling - Obama) approach.

Following your logic, I guess that Eisenhower (not to mention Patton, Bradley, Montgomery, etc.) should have issued policy directives instructing Allied soldiers to stop referring to German soldiers as "Nazi Rat bastards" as this would only induce more Germans to sign up for the cause.

Just once would you stop denying that the current occupant of the Oval Office is wrong? - and, as Scott argues above, just because a lie, a skillful *spin*, is often repeated does not make it any more credible.

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gabe
on June 18, 2016 at 11:30:13 am

Interesting isn't it that nobody. really can ignore (willfully, one would, of course, not suggest) the "Chambelainian" option, akin to the Walling - Obama approach, which proved such a success prior to the outbreak of the Second world War. Of course, Chamberlain DID NOT have sufficient military might, unlike Obama, to counter German aggression.

As for the bombing of London (and other cities):
1) It was neither bold nor novel having been first employed by the Germans (albeit via dirigibles) during WWI. It too was unsuccessful and the Luftwaffe should have known this.
2) Another significant difference is the fact that both parties were already engaged in full scale hostilities and at best Goering (read: Hitler's "picque-ish" decision) should be viewed as a *tactical* decision rather than an example of bold leadership. In war, many decisions prove wrong.

What is to be said for the Obama-Walling doctrine? Clearly, it is neither bold nor wise but rather an expression of the "received wisdom" of the day. Let us not offend those who wish us harm. BTW: This wisdom is received from, and is perennially propagated, by those seeking to do us harm.

As for bold leadership, nobody.really fails to mention the Doolittle Raids on Tokyo, The Flying Tigers led by Claire Cheneault and a host of other initiatives during WWII. And let us not forget Stalin's bold decision to completely dismantle his entire industrial base and ship it off to the far eastern reaches of Russia to avoid destruction by the "Nazi Rat Bastards", previously alluded to, and all this while under the most savage assault imaginable. Now that was BOLD!!!!!!!

Well, it is June and I guess the *cherries* must be picked by someone. Nobody.really wants to do this as the wages are not all that high!

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gabe
on June 18, 2016 at 12:17:43 pm

It is a particularly dangerous form of ignorant narcissism to think that other people have no will to action except that which we provoke in them, no ambitions that are not merely the protective responses to our own, and no capacity for evil except what they learn from us. Or more precisely, those of "us" that are not enlightened.

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z9z99
on June 18, 2016 at 12:32:18 pm

I think the example of the Battle of Britain can be used to support all sides of the argument. It is not mandatory to view it as "bold leadership." It is just as valid to view it as overconfidence and underestimating the will of one's opponent. Hitler thought that this opponents were inferior to him in will. Chamberlain did nothing to disabuse him of this notion. Hitler thought that terror bombing., and later the vergeltung weapons would break the will of the British. He thought that if he could drive to Antwerp in December of 1944, the "false alliance" between Britain and the U.S. would collapse. And of course he thought that the racial superiority of the German people would make lebensraum a foregone conclusion. This was not bold leadership; it was deluded overconfidence.

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z9z99
on June 18, 2016 at 12:55:57 pm

Z:

Luvv'dit!!!

And *bold* leadership exercised by a madman, in the end, is anything but bold rather it is self-defeating - as is timidity exercised by a narcissist!

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gabe
on June 18, 2016 at 21:33:09 pm

This was not bold leadership; it was deluded overconfidence.

I'm glad to see that you, at least, got the point.

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nobody.really
on June 18, 2016 at 23:02:01 pm

I’m glad to see that you, at least, got the point.

And what is that point? What is the "general proposition that you are espousing?

That ALL bold action is deluded overconfidence. This is a typical argument from Progressives used to justify inaction, indecision and vacillation. In this instance, it is clearly proper to label it *reductio ad Hitlerium."

And thus, you would compare almost any aggressive action against those who wish us harm as deluded overconfidence. Then again, given the nature of THIS commander-in-chief, and the (apparent) compliant General Staff, I suspect you may be right.

I would say that your point was "un-nuanced", ha!

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gabe
on June 19, 2016 at 00:57:40 am

Certainly there is bold action that is not overconfidence. Kitchener's actions in during the River War, in which he tossed the Mahdi's bones in the Nile, or John Pershing's actions against Filipino guerillas, or MacArthur's landing at Inchon might qualify as bold leadership. I would definitely count the Battle of Trenton as a lelading example. Of course, if the action is taken from a position of strength, there is a strong likelihood that the actor will be accused of bullying, or excess. Were Arthur Harris and Curtis LeMay examples of bold leadership, or something else? And then some bold leadership doesn't seem like such a good idea in hindsight. See, for example, Napoleon and Isoroku Yamamoto.

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z9z99
on June 19, 2016 at 10:04:59 am

Z:

You hit it on the head with respect to framing the Proggies arguments:

"Of course, if the action is taken from a position of strength, there is a strong likelihood that the actor will be accused of bullying, or excess."

That is precisely what the Proggies (and regrettably members of the Naval College) perceive to be the underlying basis for any and ALL *bold* action. It is bullying to their minds. Of course, nowhere in the Proggie landscape is there to be found any accusations of bullying when Islamists, for example, proceed to bully citizens of their *adopted* countries with their incessant demands for Sharia, etc or when they randomly slaughter said citizens.
From the 7th century onward, this has been the modus operandi of the expansionist Islamists. How else did they spread across, and despoil, the face of North Africa and Southern Europe. sheer bullying - and of the most violent type.
Yet, we hear no condemnation of either past or present bullying.

No, I will joyfully keep my *un-nuanced* view of the matter, after all nobody.reaaly gives a damn about bullying anyway.

That said, "bold action" need, and ought not, be equated with intemperate, ill-considered and poorly planned and executed use of force as some would suggest. Hasty, even if bold, action is generally unsuccessful.

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gabe
on June 19, 2016 at 22:00:55 pm

I think that an interesting question is whether there are characteristics of these actions that are known a priori that distinguish the bold folly from heroic decisiveness from delusional miscalculation. It seems at least as a first cut that one distinguishing factor is whether the decision maker thinks the odds are in his favor, and if so why? Kitchener was criticized after the battle of Omdurman for his treatment of wounded Mahdis,. but one wonders if this criticism would have pertained had not the Maxim gun tilted the odds decisively in Kitchener;s favor.

I am sure volumes could be written about blunders that result from nothing more basic than mistaken assumptions about one's opponent, whether it is assuming Americans would be regarded as liberators in Iraq, or Henri Navarre's underestimation of the military skill of the Viet Minh at Dien Bien Phu, or the British overconfidence at Isandlwana.. Or regarding ISIS as the "JV." Of course,the same principle applies to misapprehending the opponent's intentions as well as his capability, and this caveat applies regardless of good intentions or "the right side of history." Nemesis smites hubris regardless of political fashions.

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z9z99
on June 21, 2016 at 07:39:41 am

A lot of dumb assumptions were made.

Most crucially, this isn't a "freedom fighter" group playing calculated theatrical games during the Cold War. If we want to squish them we can. They don't want us to squish them.

Second, if they just want theatrics they can invent 99% of it as they always have. They have a different worldview that apparently very few people can actually understand. Some of their goals are simple enough but they don't want to hold territory for the same reasons that we would. They actually think if they follow their value system that their god will take care of the rest. Their fate, in their view, is determined by their piety.

Nuanced enough for you?

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Chris
on July 05, 2016 at 04:22:37 am

[…] Naval War College illustrates the merits of US strategy against ISIS by imagining a meeting of the Islamic State National Security Council. (Thanks to […]

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